Earlier this month, Google significantly augmented its main product--the Google search engine--in order to include results that include links from the company's social media service, Google+. Search is pretty amazing at finding that one needle in a haystack of billions of webpages, images, videos, news and much more, said Google in an official blog post. But clearly, that isn't enough. You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they've shared with you, as well as the people you don't know but might want to... all from one search box.
The change to Google search caused a backlash from techies MG Siegler, a Twitter spokesperson and even the FTC. Despite the backlash, Google continued to back its decision to include Google+ links in their search results, of course, making the announcement on the company social network. For those that were upset by the change, now there's hope.
Focus on the User--a group of developers from Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and other social networking sites--has created a bookmarklet that can be added to any web browser and adds Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Quora, Tumblr, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Myspace, among other social networks to Google search results. The service was built as a proof of concept that social content could be added to Google's search results.
Focus on the User has specified three areas in which Google has chosen to retrieve information from its own social network rather than giving people the most relevant information across the web.
The first is in the people and pages results box. Focus on the User argues that when you search a term such as Facebook, Google will retrieve Mark Zuckerburg's empty Google+ page rather than his very active Facebook page. This also occurs when a user searches a broad top such as movies or music. Google+ is given preference over more active Twitter and Facebook pages.
The second area in which Google provides information from its own social network rather than more relevant information is in what Focus on the User calls organic results. This happens when searching large organizations such as The New York Times or Macy's. Rather than bringing users to the Facebook, Twitter or YouTube accounts of Macy's, instead the results display the Google+ page of each of these organizations.
The final area in which Google unfairly prefers its own social network to other, more active, social networks occurs as you type results into the Google search box. The auto-complete function will suggest a Google+ account for celebrities such as Taylor Swift or Dane Cook, even though those users are more active on their Twitter accounts.
In order to retrieve results from other social networks, users simply have to drag the bookmarklet that Focus on the User has created, aptly titeld Don't Be Evil, to the bookmarks toolbar of their web browser. Then, when the user searches something in Google, all they have to do is click the Don't Be Evil button they've just added to their bookmarks toolbar. The bookmarklet will transform Google search results to more relevant social network information including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn and many other social networks.
Focus on the User emphasizes that the information comes from Google itself, and that all the ranking decisions are made by Google's own algorithms.